Domhnall Gleeson surprised by direction of General Hux

Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES -- Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson thought he had a pretty good idea about what the future would hold for his character of General Hux after playing him in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." He got a big shock when he saw the script for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

"I had my own ideas of what would happen to him but not based on anything anyone told me," Gleeson says. He laughs and adds, "I was way off with what I thought would happen to him in this film."

What that future holds will remain a mystery until "The Last Jedi" opens Dec. 15. Just like all of his fellow cast members, Gleeson has been told not to reveal any information about the film. So instead of looking to what will be, Gleeson gladly chats about what has been especially what has been so exciting about playing General Hux.

The biggest plus was Gleeson has not really played a character like this before. He describes General Hux as being deeply uncomfortable, very insecure, a bully and the worst person "to be in a room with if you had a knife."

"I have always wanted Hux to be a character that kids hate as soon as they see him. And, I think that has happened."

The place where all of the nastiness plays out the most is in his relationship with fellow dark side bad guy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is concerned. Ren, who fans found out in the first movie is the son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and General Leia (Carrie Fisher), is the guy you call when a dirty job needs to be done. Despite being on the same evil side, Hux and Rey are very competitive. That element will be a part of the new movie.

What they share, says Gleeson, is a lust for power.

"Power is the name of the game," Gleeson adds. "Not having power and then getting power, you get desperate for it. And that desperation is very fun to play."

Before becoming part of the "Star Wars" universe, Gleeson starred in a variety of TV shows and films, including having small roles in both parts of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" playing Bill Weasley. He laughs and says he only had a couple of lines, but it was enough to give him insight into what it means to be part of a huge film franchise that's surrounded in secrecy.

He saw one huge difference between the two.


"With 'Harry Potter,' there were books so people largely knew what was going to happen," Gleeson says. "This is different because the fervor not only of the anticipation of seeing the film but in finding out what happens is at a much higher level."

Gleeson's theory on why "Star Wars" has become such a massive part of pop culture is that it was a perfect storm of creative elements. He says it started with the genius of George Lucas, who envisioned the world, coupled with the perfect casting of characters.

And one cast member who helped bridge the "Star Wars" worlds was the late Carrie Fisher. Gleeson was a co-presenter at the BAFTA Awards in London with Fisher. He can't talk about whether or not he worked with Fisher on "The Last Jedi" but can only say that being in the same film with her was "amazing."

"She was a special person. She lasts not only in her work but in her relationships. She put a lot of good out in the world by being herself," Gleeson says. "She was a live wire who just didn't give a (expletive). She was also full of love and generosity."

Generally, Gleeson -- who is the son of actor Brendan Gleeson -- has landed roles that have not had such manias behind them. He started acting when he was 18, appearing in the television miniseries "Rebel Heart." Since then, his credits have included "The Revenant," "True Grit," "Dredd," "Black Mirror" and "Goodbye Christopher Robin."

Unlike so many of the "Star Wars" cast members who became fans of the franchise through seeing the first six movies, the 34-year-old Gleeson's love for the stories that unfold in a galaxy far, far away started in a very different way. He had only seen bits and pieces of the original films before seeing "Phantom Menace" in the theaters.

His first attraction to the "Star Wars" world came through the movie-related toys. Gleeson was fascinated by his cousin's toy version of the At-At Walker that was introduced in "The Empire Strikes Back." And now, the circle is complete, as there have been several General Hux action figure toys.

"That is outrageous. It is absolutely outrageous," Gleeson says of seeing himself as a toy. "And there is a LEGO version of Hux. When I was a kid, LEGO was it. It blows my mind that the children of my friends and family will get to play with a LEGO version of me."

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